Editorials

Gov. Cooper’s first budget offers a progressive blueprint for NC’s future

Gov. Cooper presents his budget plan

Gov. Roy Cooper presented his 2017-2019 budget plan on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at Durham Technical Community College. Cooper described it as a commonsense budget that should have broad appeal thanks to an emphasis on education and good health ac
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Gov. Roy Cooper presented his 2017-2019 budget plan on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at Durham Technical Community College. Cooper described it as a commonsense budget that should have broad appeal thanks to an emphasis on education and good health ac

The proposed budget of Gov. Roy Cooper is a sound proposal that recognizes the need to invest more in education and state workers after years of Republican-crafted budgets that focused on tax cuts for the wealthy and business.

Unfortunately, Cooper’s budget hasn’t much of a chance for adoption with the GOP remaining in control of the General Assembly, veto-proof control at that. Republicans will cut more taxes for the wealthy and to continue to reduce taxes on business in the name of making North Carolina more “business friendly,” although the state has ranked highly in that category for many years.

Ironically, of course, those same Republicans who talk about being business friendly have cost the state millions of dollars and thousands of jobs with their HB2 “bathroom bill.”

Cooper has the right priorities: An increase in government spending by $1.1 billion next year would be part of a two-year plan to raise pay for teachers and state employees, to bolster state pre-kindergarten programs and expand Medicaid. Cooper also would put $30 million in more broadband access for rural parts of the state, and more money to help opiod addicts, a dramatically increasing problem in the state.

Cooper, in other words, wants to do better for all North Carolinians, and Republicans naturally are calling him “reckless.” North Carolina has made a comeback from the Great Recession, and Gov. Cooper realizes its time for the state to invest in all citizens — not just those already at the top. People need to ask Republicans why they don’t agree with that.

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